Born Into Blindness

966 Words4 Pages
Judgment, reason, and clarity of perception; these are all qualities that contribute to blindness within Jane Austen’s Emma; a blindness that Austen herself feels can be avoided. This form of blindness ultimately yields unhappiness due to an inaccurate perception of human situations and feelings. With Emma’s inability to perceive the truth and her lack of self-understanding, she becomes the victim of her own imaginative world of matchmaking and false happiness induced by Mr. Woodhouse, her father. This inducement is caused by his angst towards marriage and constant obsession of keeping his daughter close. Emma Woodhouse is practically born into blindness when she is left with one parent’s negative connotations toward the reality of the…show more content…
Woodhouse still “tries to earnestly dissuade her from it” (315) in order to keep her blind to the real world and to whom she must spend her life with, expecting her to reside with him. Despite the negative response of Mr. Woodhouse, Emma basks in her self-realization and eye-opening feelings and claims staying single for her father “would not do…and said it must be so”, referring to the marriage (315). With this realization, Emma avoids the blindness Mr. Woodhouse still wishes to instill upon her. As a possibility viewed by Austen, Emma avoids further blindness through discovering true happiness. One’s happiness comes from love, obviously not the only source of true happiness, but a prominent one. Happiness, in turn, can then release one from blindness such as Emma’s. Her realization “that there had never been a time…that [Mr. Knightley’s] regard for her had not been infinitely the most dear” allows her to understand “she had been entirely under a delusion” (278) and had not seen clearly until now. Austen undoubtedly points out that for Emma to “understand[ing], thoroughly understand[ing] her own heart,” (278) is the first step in reaching this revelation. Furthermore, Austen states in an 1814 personal letter to her niece, Fanny Knight, “nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without love- bound to one and preferring another” (Austen, Letter, paragraph 7). In regards to Emma, this misery, or unhappiness due to blindness,
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